Multiple sclerosis or MS is a serious disease caused by the degradation of the myelin sheath that protects the nerve cells. The symptoms can be severe or mild depending on the patient. The patient is referred to as “she” because MS overwhelmingly affects women. Here are 15 MS symptoms in women that shouldn’t be ignored.
1. Problems with Vision
Problems with vision are common early symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The person experiences double vision, blurry vision or blindness. They may also feel pain when they look up or look to the side.
Women who have MS are more likely to have acute pain than are men. Among the types of pain are a face pain that feels like a broken tooth, a sensation like an electric shock down the spine and a burning, squeezing pain around the body called the “MS hug.”
3. Tingling and numbness
This is another common and early sign of the disease. The person experiences the tingling and numbness in her face and appendages.
Weakness means that the person simply doesn’t have the strength to do what she used to do with ease. This can include household tasks such as cleaning or even walking. Most MS patients first feel the weakness in their legs.
Most people with multiple sclerosis also experience urinary incontinence. Less often, they have a loss of bowel control, diarrhea or constipation.
People with MS often suffer from dizziness or lightheadedness. They sometimes feel like the room is spinning, which is a condition called vertigo.
7. Problems With Cognition
Half of the patients with multiple sclerosis notice that they have problems with their memory. They also have problems with language and a shortened attention span.
8. Problems With Sensation
People with MS sometimes have problems sensing whether something is hot or cold.
9. Menstrual Difficulties
Many women find that their MS symptoms are worse when they have their periods, especially symptoms of depression, clumsiness, fatigue, and weakness.
Many people with MS experience painful muscle spasms or stiffness. The spasms are uncontrollable and most often happen in the legs.
The great majority of people with MS have fatigue, and fatigue is chronic. This means it doesn’t go away even after the person rests.
12. Speaking Difficulties
Patients who have MS also find that they have trouble controlling their speech. They may slur their words and not be able to control how loudly or softly they speak.
13. Problems with Balance
The person with MS might find that she has trouble balancing when she walks and is often clumsy.
Whether it is an actual symptom of the disease or a response to it, many people with MS are depressed. The stress caused by MS can also cause anxiety and irritability. Some patients have what is called pseudobulbar affect where they cry and laugh uncontrollably and inappropriately.
15. Menopausal Difficulties
MS symptoms in women going through menopause shouldn’t be ignored. Some find that their MS symptoms at this time. Some women find that hormone replacement therapy brings some relief of MS symptoms.
One bright spot for women with MS is that the disease does not seem to affect their ability to get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby. Pregnancy, indeed, seems to improve MS symptoms.